A construction and interior company, Stonecliff is working hard to cement its position in the industry and beyond the borders. Having recently opened a branch in South Africa, the sky seems to be the limit for the youth owned business. Below, Managing Director, MODIRI ZULU
THEBEETSILE talks to KOOBOONYE RAMOKOPELWA, about the early days of the company and what lies ahead.
Botswana Guardian: In a nutshell, how will you describe Stonecliff?
MODIRI ZULU THEBEETSILE: Stonecliff is a construction and interior design business which services both the private and public sector. The company was incorporated in 2017 here in Botswana. Originally, Stonecliff had two shareholders. However, my business partner has since sold his stake to me as he wanted to pursue other business interests. I will forever respect his efforts and bravery because building a construction and interior business is not a bed of roses.
BOTSWANA GUARDIAN: Who funded the business?
THEBEETSILE: The business was self-financed from our own savings. I must admit that, starting a business needs hard work, courage and determination. The early days of Stonecliff were tough, but through perseverance, we have managed to pull through. I remember vividly that we used my personal car to run around and get things done. We had a dream and there was no way we were going to let it die.
BOTSWANA GUARDIAN: As a citizen owned and youth run business, what kind of challenges do you encounter as you go about your daily operations?
THEBEETSILE: Like any other business, we experience challenges from time to time. However, it is worthwhile to note that, challenges for businesses will always be there no matter what. The best way is to adapt and continuously work hard to become better companies than we were yesterday. As a youth owned business, we believe values of discipline and hard work have helped us pull through, even during the most difficult of times. At a personal level, I have a strong opinion that as citizen-owned businesses, we need to up our game, especially when it comes to work ethics.
BOTSWANA GUARDIAN: What competitive edge does Stonecliff has over peers in the industry?
THEBEEITSILE: Our biggest advantage is a very solid group of talented individuals. At Stonecliff, we value our human capital much, and this explains why we put them ahead of profits.
BOTSWANA GUARDIAN: Tell us more about your recent expansion into South Africa.
THEBEETSILE: We have opened a Stonecliff branch in South Africa and the plan is to expand throughout Southern Africa. We do have clients in South Africa that we were servicing through our Botswana office but as the years went by the number increased and we saw this as an opportunity. The SA office will also allow the business to target new customers and use SA to expand to other countries. The ability to reach a new market can generate revenue and with that we can gain access to other markets in the region. Basically, we are using the country as a spring board into the rest of the region.
BOTSWANA GUARDIAN: How has Stonecliff been accepted in the country, which is the region’s economic power house?
THEBEETSILE: We have been well received by the South African market. What has also helped us a lot is that, over the years, we built a strong SA customer and supplier base.
BOTSWANA GUARDIAN: How many people are employed by the company?
THEBEETSILE: Stonecliff employs 21 permanent and 5 temporary employees in Botswana. In our first month of operation in South Africa, we have 5 employees.
BOTSWANA GUARDIAN: What citizen economic empowerment initiatives do you have within the business?
THEBEETSILE: Stonecliff is a strong believer in citizen economic empowerment. Of the total workforce we currently have, I am proud to state that 96 percent are Batswana. In addition, we continue to engage many other citizen owned sub-contractors for all our projects.
BOTSWANA GUARDIAN: As a business, what kind of corporate social investment initiatives do you have in place for communities you operate in?
THEBEETSILE: We believe the success of our business depends entirely on our clients and the communities that the business operates on. We are working on a structural model which we can use to give back to our communities.
BOTSWANA GUARDIAN: How has COVID-19 impacted the business in general?
THEBEETSILE: Covid-19 has affected businesses a lot. That willingness to create, spend and travel has really diminished for many people because you need to connect physically with other human beings to get the best out of you - we are social creatures. What has kept us strong during Covid-19 has really been the culture here. Even when we were apart there was always that strong connection and willingness to create the same quality work and that automatically ignited hope for our clients so we never stopped working.
BOTSWANA GUARDIAN: As a youth business, what is your view on strong corporate governance for sustainability?
THEBEETSILE: I will be honest with you. For startups and family businesses, establishing a professional, independent board and other aspects of corporate governance tend to be far down the priority list. Corporate governance is very key to any business’s growth and sustainability. A lot of businesses have folded, not because of market forces, but lapse in corporate governance. However, there are important legal, ethical, and fiduciary considerations for companies of any size before corporate governance structures could be established. Companies need to first understand why corporate governance is important for business growth and sustainability.
BOTSWANA GUARDIAN: Where do you see the business in the medium to long term?
THEBEETSILE: We want innovation to be at the core of our service. The condition of production equipment and service quality are key to us, and they will continue to do well into the future. Finally, as alluded earlier, the plan is to build Stonecliff into a Southern African focused entity.
DStv and Virgin Active have partnered to bring viewers workouts designed by the very best instructors and fitness experts from around the world. The show that premiered on SuperSport Blitz this Thursday (April 16th) seeks to grease the bodies of viewers who have been stuck at home, possibly missing out on some much-needed exercise. It airs at 0800Hrs & 1700Hrs daily. The first show was a hit, leaving some viewers panting for breath and looking forward to other exciting workouts under the series.
According to a press release, with most of the viewers across the world currently going through lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most are missing out on going to the gym hence these work outs which brings the gym straight to the viewers’ homes. "You may not be able to get to the gym to train but the gym is coming right to you through DStv, giving you easy-to-follow workouts ranging from high intensity, that will make you sweat, to more mindful, restorative practice to feed your soul," explains the release.
The release notes that first up, participants will meet Ceri Hannan and Bongo Ntlokwana, two Virgin Active coaches who will guide viewers through some great mobility flows and high intensity interval training (HIIT) routines to get stamina up and allow people to start benchmarking their progress. "Each workout is designed to cater to any level of fitness, with the progression or regression of each movement demonstrated so that participants can work out according to their ability and fitness level," says the press release.
Positive business atmosphere is expected to envelop the country in the second quarter of the year, the central bank’s quarterly Business Expectations Survey has revealed. Published last week Wednesday, the analysis said firms are confident about business conditions in the second quarter of 2019.
“However, the level of optimism declines in the third quarter of 2019, consistent with the anticipated higher cost pressures. “Firms expect the economy to grow by 3.8 percent in 2019, lower than the 4.2 percent projection stated in the 2019 budget speech,” reads part of the survey. Business Survey indicates that the political climate, domestic demand and the current exchange rate are viewed as being the most supportive factors to doing business in Botswana during the second quarter of 2019. The water and electricity subsectors are also expected to contribute positively to economic activity. “There are ongoing efforts to improve the supply of utilities through measures such as the implementation of the North-South Carrier 2 water project and the North-West Transmission Grid electricity connection.”
In addition, confidence in the domestic market-oriented firms is mainly driven by trade, hotels and restaurants, transport and communications and the finance and business services sectors. And the export market-oriented firms are more optimistic about the third quarter of 2019 compared to other periods of the survey especially those engaged in the manufacturing business. The study further points out that on average, firms expect inflation to be slightly below four percent, which is consistent with the Bank’s projection that inflation will remain within the objective range of 3 - 6 percent in the medium term.
Though there is a strong expectation of cost escalation in the third quarter of 2019, attributable to the expected rise in wages and cost of materials and transport. The firms’ expectations about domestic inflation have generally been on a downward trend since 2013 and within the Bank’s inflation objective range of 3 - 6 percent since 2014. “Furthermore, uncertainty about future inflation has generally declined as shown by the narrowing standard deviation from the average expectations. Firms’ inflation expectations for 2019 average 3.6 percent, suggesting that inflation expectations are well anchored within the Bank’s objective range,” said the report.
Some of the factors anticipated to affect doing business include lack of external financing, as perceived by a number of firms, predominantly market-oriented ones, across various sectors. Another challenge is shortage of raw materials, commonly cited by the manufacturing sector, followed by construction and trade, hotels, restaurants and transport and communications. The local economy posted positive figures for gross domestic product (GDP), according data from Statistics Botswana (SB). SB reported that P48, 728.9 million worth of goods and services was produced in the first quarter compared to P48, 491.6 million during the previous quarter, translating to a 4.3 percent economy increase in the first quarter of 2019, compared to a rise of 4.5 percent recorded in the same quarter of 2018.
The report show that non-mining sectors trade, hotels and restaurants remained the major contributor to GDP by 19.1 percent, followed by mining and quarrying, general government and finance and business services at 16.6, 14.5 and 14.3 percent respectively.
Economist at Barclays Bank Botswana, Naledi Madala said though the first quarter GDP is lower than the 4.5 percent recorded in 2018, it is a welcome development given the current global and regional economic conditions.
“The on-going trade disputes between the US and China, geo-political tensions, risks of a no Brexit deal and other factors have led to a significant slowdown in global growth making institutions such as the IMF to revise down expectations for global expansion to 3.3 percent. Regionally, South Africa which is Botswana biggest trading partner continues to underperform,” Madala highlighted. She said South Africa’s first quarter national accounts data came in worse than expected, adding that it was its worst quarterly contraction since the height of the global financial crisis in 2009.
Madala cited that the services sector should continue to play an increasing role in the economy, a development she welcomes. “Over the past few years, there has been a difference in performance between the buoyant services sector and the slowing primary (mining, agriculture) and secondary (manufacturing) sectors,” said Madala.
In a bid to restore confidence and bring about good results the Ministry of Basic Education is holding workshops around the country in regions to ensure uniformity in applying teaching skills.
Speaking to Botswana Guardian, Coordinator of School Turn Around, Tshwarelo Hosia revealed that they have been running workshops for the regions and so far they have covered five regions being Gantsi, Kgalagadi, Kgatleng, North West and Chobe.
The strategy wants schools to worry less about external factors because there has been a culture of shifting the blame, diverting attention from the school to outside forces.
“We are saying even in the worst case scenario, if families were to become dysfunctional, schools must become functional. We are saying it is the duty of a principal to establish a unique and distinct culture which is different from the village culture. A student must realise that they are on holy ground which is different from where he comes from,” said Hosia.
According to him the school head should establish a culture of hard work, a culture of reading by the manner in which he manages his own school. That is why no turn around strategy in the world has ever taken place without a strong principal. In fact, research says that there is a direct and intimate link between leadership and results. “That is why as we move about, the response is overwhelming; our principals- you can ask them all over the region that we have covered- are saying that this workshop is one of a kind.
Unique because for the first time it is taking us to what we know we should be doing and we have not been doing. “For in instance, we are taking the principals back to tried and tested methods which somewhat fell by the wayside. We are saying what is wrong with common planning, with common scheming, collaborative teaching, with peer teaching”?
Teachers in the same department are working in silos and not necessarily as a team to support one another. The strategy says it is the duty of the principal to ensure that first of all there is harmony in the department; the school should become a professional learning community where there is exchange of notes and ideas on the best instructional practices. “We are saying every day is an opportunity for the school to be better than yesterday.
Everything rests with the principal, knowing your teachers well means you know their strengths and weaknesses. It is the duty of the principal to ensure that gaps are identified and closed”.Further teachers must be assisted on issues of lesson preparation, is this lesson planned, examining the quality of the lesson plan and how well the lesson plan will help the learners to learn better.
“What is happening now is that people are lesson planning for the purpose of compliance because the school says that they should plan and they prepare lesson plans which are not necessarily scrutinised to check issues of quality. People are assessed occasionally for purposes of filling the performance forms but not necessarily to improve the instructions every day. This is where the problem is because performance improvement is seen as an external imposition,” he said.
The strategy came following the appointment of Dr. Collie Monkge as Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Basic Education. It is a component of the Education Training Sector Strategic Plan (ETSSP) coupled with a research that was done by the Ministry of Education.
The Ministry had engaged Professor Kipper as consultant to look into why academic achievement levels are very low in the ministry of basic education. Some of Professor Kipper’s observations were that the ministry must strengthen governance and accountability in schools since Principals had taken their feet off the pedal regarding supervision of the classroom. The strategy is about ensuring that the principal gets involved in classroom issues.
“The teachers are coming from the same colleges and University of Botswana; they are the same as they have the same qualifications. Therefore what will differ is management, how the principal is managing the resources. Issues of deployment are the responsibility of the principal to ensure that he knows his teachers very well, who can teach a standard seven class, a low class, who can teach pure sciences and for what reason”.
Hosea said they have been advising the teachers that the allocation of classes for results is the prerogative of the school head but that teachers say they want the classes to be allocated on a rotational basis. The Turn Around on the other hand demands that the principal use data as a basis for allocating classes. It is about getting the principal back into the classroom.
The principal must assume his rightful place as an instructional leader in the school set up. The principal cannot confine himself in office when the school is not really doing well. “We are saying the quality of a school cannot exceed the quality of the principal or teachers”.
The principals are being asked if they know what they are looking for when they go to observe a lesson. This is so, because sometimes people observe the teacher and care little about the learner. “We remind the principals to look at the learners what are they doing and saying –a teacher can dramatise the lesson, teach to impress the one who is observing”.
Hosea says that during the observation one must ensure that all different cognitive skills are covered. This is because at times teachers complain that learners are unable to comply. The teacher determines the attitude of the learners. “There is the issue of professional development, some people think it means the ministry must send you for further studies abroad, others say the in service department has died, well there is an element of truthiness in it, but where does professional development begin?
It begins at school level, when receiving new teachers, how does the principal immerse the new arrivals into the professional culture? Teachers can go as high as the principal wants them to go”.Hosea said at the moment the culture of teaching is not about resources, it has collapsed because students are not given enough practice and feedback on time. “Much as we appreciate there are challenges in resources, but the biggest resource at the disposal of the principal is the teacher”.
Stakes are high at Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Gaborone South constituency as Bulela-Ditswe date draws nearer with fears that the election will be compromised.
Botswana Guardian has established that all is not well in the constituency as the voters’ roll is being contested by some candidates on grounds that there has been voter trafficking. News of trafficking broke out this week when verification was being done.
The two camps of Monametsi Abel Kalayamotho and Dumizweni Meshack Mthimkhulu, who are both vying for the Parliamentary seat, have for some time been at crossroads.
This has now affected the council candidates aligned to them. Information gathered by this publication is that two letters complaining of voter trafficking have so far been written.
“The election might not happen because some of the candidates are disgruntled and want the election for Gaborone South to be postponed. There are also claims that some of the people who have been registered do not appear in the voters’ roll,” said a source close to the developments.
This publication has it on good authority that members of Political Education and Electoral Committee (PEEC) tried to intervene on Monday this week with the aim of putting the matter to rest. It has since emerged that some of the candidates and their teams would not compromise and get along to participate in the elections. PEEC is expected to make its decision on the matter this week.
Some members are said to have called for recovery of all the books that were used during registration so that names could be cross-checked. However, the unfortunate part is that the former Branch Secretary, with whom the books were kept, passed away recently. Thus it has proved hard to have the books recovered. The PEEC meeting in the constituency follows another one which was held by Central Committee member Tebogo Masire last week.
During the meeting which was a pre-counselling for candidates, Masire appealed for calm and peace during campaigns. He implored the candidates to work together during this internal process so that at the end the BDP would be able to defend the constituency as a united force. He encouraged the candidates to reconcile following their recent complaints against each other regarding campaigns.
Gaborone South Branch Chairman Alfred Moatlhaping confirmed the complaints but stated that there is no how elections would not continue. He said what was missing was the master registration book.
“I have gone to the party office to look for the copy of the master registration book. I have managed to locate registration books which we would annex and avail to the candidates. I have the situation under control and everything will fall into place. We are going to the polls like other constituencies next week,” Moatlhaping pointed out.
Between April and June this year the two camps were firing from all cylinders in a bid to have one of the candidates fall during vetting. At the centre of controversy were accusations from both camps of campaigning before time. Letters flew from one office to the other as the smear campaign by both teams intensified.
Mthimkhulu’s team has written letters to BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi complaining that Kalayamotho, who transferred his membership from Gaborone Bonnington North to Gaborone South, engaged in early campaign by hosting activities at Old Naledi and branding and distributing t-shirts to constituents with the aim of luring them to vote for him in August this year. Letters seen by this publication also questioned Kalayamotho’s membership transfer.
The complainants say the transfer was done under dubious circumstances. An Entrepreneurship Summit which Kalayamotho hosted at Old Naledi and Bontleng Halls on the 17 May 2018 to reach out to the unemployed has also been cited as one of his campaign tactics for votes. He is said to have resorted to use such a stunt because he arrived in the constituency late and is only using his financial muscle to buy popularity.
Kalayamotho’s team has hit back and written to Branch Committee accusing Mthimkhuku’s team of applying underhand tactics to canvass for votes. Mthimkulu’s team is said to campaign by organising activities such as soccer tournaments and buying alcohol for constituents in exchange for them to register so as to vote for Mthimkhulu. It is also alleged that a WhatsApp Group page has been opened which is used for campaigning - a platform the BDP has indicated should not be used.
Power struggle and hunger for power is what has landed Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) at loggerheads over the appropriate Constitution to be filed with Registrar of Societies, Botswana Guardian has learnt.
Following the filing of the Constitution by President Advocate Duma Boko and one of the Vice Presidents, Dumelang Saleshando who is also President of Botswana Congress Party (BCP) two UDC contracting partners Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and Botswana People’s Party (BPP) wrote objecting letters through their Secretary Generals.
The Constitution submitted by Advocate Boko and Saleshando provided for one Vice President and gave powers to the UDC congress and the President. The Vice President would be the running mate for the president during the general election.
The letters written to the Registrar of Societies indicate that since UDC is made up of four contracting partners the constitution must be signed by all in order to be registered.
On the other hand, the Constitution that the BMD and BPP approve of has provision for two vice presidents. According to the Constitution once UDC is in power 1st Vice President would be the country’s vice president. BMD has all along maintained that it occupies the seat of 1st Vice President within the UDC. The argument has been that BCP is a new comer in the UDC. However, UDC leader Advocate Duma Boko has on several occasions indicated that there is no 1st and 2nd Vice Presidents within the UDC.
He stated that they are all equal but perform different roles. If this Constitution is approved and UDC wins power, BMD leader Advocate Sidney Pilane would be Botswana’s Vice President according to Article 11.2 of the Constitution.
Article 11.4 the Chairperson of the UDC shall be the Senior Minister of the cabinet of Republic of Botswana when UDC is in power. BPP President Motlatsi Molapisi is UDC Chairman.
This means when UDC attains power, Molapisi would be minister for presidential affairs. It is yet to be seen what would be the way forward once the Registrar of Societies has acted on all the documents before his office.
Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) could face a backlash from employees through court action if the union forges ahead with salary cuts.
A fortnight ago the union employees were informed that the union of choice as BOPEU is affectionately known, is going through financial difficulties. It was announced at the meeting that this therefore forces the union to reverse its decision of last year of implementing a new pay structure. In 2017, BOPEU restructured the organisational chart and introduced a new one in which a new pay structure was introduced effective beginning of November. The new structure followed the engagement of a consultant to carry out an audit.
Now employees are up in arms and have dared the employer to go back on the decision eight (8) months later. The reversal is expected to be effective this month but letters which were to be given to the employees have not been availed. BOPEU has branches in Palapye, Francistown, Maun, Kang, Head office and BOPEU College. Information gathered by Botswana Guardian suggests that the employees have already identified a lawyer who will take up the matter.
“While we engage the lawyer we would at the same time engage in a go-slow. We do not understand why the employer would want to change now after eight months. What is interesting is that prior to implementing the new structure, they had engaged a consultant who looked at all the factors to be considered. Our expectation is that financial statements were looked into and projections taken into consideration and how BOPEU has been performing financially,” said a source at head office.
The union leadership is said to have implemented the pay structure in November last year before implementing the organisational structure which was only done early this year. It has since emerged that the National Executive Committee had given a go ahead for the implementation of the organisational structure and not the pay structure.
Information gathered is that some branches have made their presentation to the management querying the pending reversal. Only the head office is yet to make its case heard after they met last week Friday.
“It would be suicidal for the employer to do that. Legally it is unheard of to cut salaries. What we have noticed is that the management is trying to employ a divide and rule tactic among us as they say this is consultation but we understand they want to implement this month (July). We are currently waiting for letters of notification for the implementation. Initially we were to be given the letters before going for the long holidays.
“As to what is delaying them to usher the letters has not been communicated to us. We understand a letter has been written to General Secretary Topias Marenga by President Masego Mogwera and First Deputy President, Martin Gabobake to have the salary changes reversed. But this is despite the fact that they are also the ones that authorised for the implementation of the new structure,” said a source.
It is alleged that increments are ridiculous under the new structure. As people were being moved to other
Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) on Wednesday shut down the Borolong plant in Maun, to start the works of replacing the malfunctioning Actifio Clarifier pump and filter unit.
Acting Corporate Communications Manager at WUC, Beauty Mokoba told Botswana Guardian that the new works at the plant are expected to resolve the discerning colour currently observed in Maun. She said the works would be done jointly with the plant contractor, Veolia Water Technologies and is expected to complete mid this month.
Mokoba said WUC procured the components and equipment required to undertake the works from South Africa at the tune of P1.4 million. She said that Delta water tends to be different from perennial and ephemeral rivers as the water is subject to drying up and flooding.
She said this consequently makes the water quality to change with the flooding of the river as turbitides and colour tend to be enhanced. Asked if the plant water plant station was inspected before the plant came into operation, Mokoba responded in the affirmative.
“All major projects undertaken by WUC are subjected to Environmental Assessment which basically informs the impact of the projects on the environment,” she said. She explained that, however an analysis of raw water is carried out to inform the design of the plant while the water demand on the other side informs the size of the plant.
Mokoba said that as a result of the plant closure, water shortage is expected in Maun during the maintenance period. She explained that this is because the water will be supplied drawn from boreholes which only produce five million litres of water per day, down from the 11 million litres of water that is currently supplied to Maun when Borolong Plant is in operation.
“As a mitigation measure, the corporation will ration the water in line with the drawn rationing schedule,” explained Mokoba. Borolong plant is located in Borolong ward near Maun General Clinic and it supplies water to more than 60 percent of the Maun village.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Gaborone South Constituency is marred by controversy as campaign teams jostling for the area clash on a collision course, Botswana Guardian has learnt.
The constituency will pit Gaborone- based lawyer Meshack Mthimkhulu with businessman Monametsi Kalayamotho in the contest for party representation. The party top brass have also been implicated in the matter as they are accused of having dumped Mthimkhulu for Kalayamotho.
Botswana Guardian understands that Mthimkhulu, who joined BDP from Botswana National Front (BNF) after the 2014 general election was promised that like most of the new recruits he would not be subjected to the process of Bulela Ditswe. Mthimkhulu contested the 2014 general election as an independent candidate after he lost BNF primary elections.
It is alleged that Mthimkhulu was at the time recruited to the BDP by Mokgweetsi Masisi who chaired the Communications and International Relations Committee and promised a clear ride as area Member of Parliament Kagiso Molatlhegi would not be seeking re-election. Mthimkhulu and Kalayamotho are said to be close to President Masisi but the wind now seems to be blowing in the direction of Kalayamotho.
While having enjoyed the blessing from the party leadership both from branch level to Central Committee, tables turned against Mthimkhulu this year when Kalayamotho made his way into the constituency. It is alleged that Kalayamotho was tipped to challenge Annah Mokgethi who was recruited from the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) but he was convinced to relocate to Gaborone South a constituency he grew up in. This was because Mokgethi was also allegedly promised not to be subjected to primary elections.
Now the opposing teams of Mthimkhulu and Kalayamotho are firing from all cylinders in a bid to have one of the candidates fall during vetting.
The duo has successfully managed to forward names for expression of interest to contest in the constituency before closing date a fortnight ago. Vetting is ongoing in the constituencies that would go for primaries in August this year including Gaborone South.
At the centre of controversy are accusations from both camps of campaigning before time.
Letters are flying from one office to the other as a smear campaign by both teams. Mthimkhulu’s team has written letters to BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi complaining that Kalayamotho, who transferred his membership from Gaborone Bonnington North to Gaborone South, engaged in early campaign by hosting activities at Old Naledi and branding and distributing t-shirts to constituents with the aim of luring them to vote for him in August.
Letters seen by this publication also question Kalayamotho’s membership transfer. The complainants argue that they sense the transfer was done under dubious circumstances. A recent Entrepreneurship Summit which Kalayamotho hosted at Old Naledi and Bontleng Halls on 17 May 2018 to reach out to the unemployed has also been cited as one of his campaigns for votes. He is said to have resorted to using such a stunt because he has arrived in the constituency late and is only using financial muscle to gain popularity.
On the other hand, Kalayamotho’s team has hit back and written to Branch Committee accusing Mthimkhuku’s team of applying underhand tactics to canvass for votes. Mthimkulu’s team is said to be campaigning by organising activities such as soccer tournaments and buying alcohol for constituents in exchange for them to register so as to vote for him.
It is also alleged that a WhatsApp Group page - a platform the BDP has indicated should not be used for campaigns - has been opened and is being used for campaigning. Candidates for the August 2018 Bulela-Ditswe will only be allowed to campaign after 13th July 2018 and will be allowed to use only house to house campaigns.
Kalayamotho told this publication that it would be against BDP rules and regulations to address the media on such matters. He stated that only the branch committee and secretary general would be in a position to comment. Regarding his transfer, he said he worked within the party rules and Branch leadership can attest to his claims. He told this publication that people are quick to run to the media to discuss internal affairs, which is wrong.
Mthimkhulu refuted claims that he has been campaigning in the constituency. He labelled this as a smear campaign to have him vetted out. “I have not carried myself in any manner that violates the BDP Constitution and or Rules and Regulations. I am also not aware of any complaint against me because even the Branch Committee. has not notified me,” said Mthimkhulu who referred further inquiries to the branch committee
Gaborone South Branch Chairman Alfred Moatlhaping said Kalayamotho followed proper channels to have his membership transfer. He said the complaints about Kalayamotho’s campaign were conveyed to the central committee and not the branch committee. “We would not address a matter that was not brought before my committee.
Those people flouted our rules and there is no how we could help them as the branch. So we will wait for the Central Committee to undertake its investigations and report to us the findings,” said Moatlhaping.
He pointed out that he has been made aware of a letter of complaint from Kalayamotho by the Branch Secretary. Moatlhaping said he has not seen the letter, adding that he would know the contents of the letter this week during a Branch Committee meeting. Balopi has indicated that all complaints are directed to lower structures to address so that the central committee could deal with such matters at a higher level as appeals.
Balopi has revealed recently that the party’s Political Education and Election Committee is engaged in mass registration across the country and attending to constituencies that are marred by controversies regarding registration and campaigns. He said this is to deal with claims that some of the structures are captured by some of Bulela-Ditswe candidates.
Molatlhegi won the constituency in 2014 with 3,872 votes, followed by Murray Dipate of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) with 3,629, Akanyang Magama of Botswana Congress Party (BCP) with 2,318 and Mthimkhulu, then an independent candidate coming last with 1,475 votes.
Stanbic Bank Botswana, one of the top four banks in the country is banking on personal markets as well as business banking divisions to drive its growth for the current year, acting Chief Executive Sam Minta has disclosed.
He was sharing information with Botswana Guardian at a media gathering after the bank was chosen as the best bank in Botswana by Global Finance Magazine recently.
The move by the bank to target retail banking for its growth could be a surprise to many as most of the bank’s growth has been coming from investment and corporate banking since they set foot in the country more than 25 years ago.
Minta, who is the substantive Chief Finance Officer, is mindful of the fact that consumers’ disposal incomes have taken a nosedive as a result of consecutive salary adjustments, which were less than inflation in most instances. Equally, the recent rise of petrol prices, electricity as well as inflation will surely put consumers under pressure, basically limiting their ability to get additional credit commitments and related services. Minta, who is seen as potential the candidate to replace Leina Gabaraane as Chief Executive, told the press that they will also increase their digital banking platforms which are a hit with both retail and business banking clients.
The bank’s digital platforms, which have seen the bank partnering with some service providers in the country, will also mean more customers will make less frequent visits to branches as they can now conduct their banking online. Personal and business banking contributed P37 million to the company’s P205 million profits after tax in the year ended December 2017.
The division was moving from a P6 million loss the year before.
“This is (was) a culmination of a strong PBB leadership, strategic investments into people, channels and systems,” said the bank in a statement announcing its 2017 results.
The bank, which is a unit of Standard Bank, Africa’s largest bank by assets, is planning to grow its business banking unit, which will see them supporting small, medium and large enterprises which in the end can create the much needed jobs in Botswana.
Stanbic has been increasing its network of Automated Teller Machines to deal with consumer traffic, stated Head of Marketing, Stephane Stoneham.
Some of its ATMs have also been replaced with ‘modern ones,’ added Stoneham who joined the bank from rival Barclays Bank Botswana some few years ago.
Meanwhile, the bank's head of human capital, Chedza Balopi heaped praises on the bank’s staff adding that they have enabled them to get the bank of the year award from Global Finance Magazine.
She adds that the bank is fortunate to be part of Standard Bank group as this enables them to have fit for purposes employees.
The bank snatched the award in Botswana, as it has been consistent in offering expertise and relationships to assist clients, and negotiate complex financial and regulatory cross-border environments.
“This is done through the bank’s digital journey, customer-centricity and efforts towards providing a universal bank experience,” said Global Finance Magazine in a statement.
“As Stanbic Bank Botswana, we aim to remain consistent in providing universal banking solutions that help move our people forward. Botswana is our home and we will continue to invest in driving the growth of our communities and clients,” said Minta.